* Prices may differ from that shown
Having enjoyed several camping trips in 2011 we decided at the end of the year that we needed to invest in a good quality and good size tent for the 2012 season as we were hoping to go away a lot more.
We searched around and looked at lots of different tents at tent shows and in tent shops and found that the Hartford XL was the one that would suit us best.
What influenced our decision?
We wanted a tent that had lots of space in the middle where you could have a table and chair set and also where there would be storage for all our things. We also wanted separate bedroom compartments so that the kids could sleep in a different section to us. We wanted one with a section where you first come into the tent (a bit like a porch) so that muddy boots and coats could be left there and not brought into the tent itself. The Hartford xl seemed to tick all the boxes so we went for that one.
The Hartford XL tent is a dome tent so you are easily able to stand up and walk around in the main middle section. It is a large tent measuring approx 840cm by 750cm the main middle bit is the dome and it then has 3 bedroom sections, one coming off each side of the tent and then at the front of the tent is the entrance/porch.
The tent comes with all the usual things such as lantern clip in the main part of the roof, cable ties so that if you use electric your cables don't go all over the tent, a sewn in groundsheet to keep out the bugs, it has lots of useful pockets to keep things in allover the tent. It feels light and airy and has lots of big windows, these come with curtains so you have privacy. The windows have fly sheets over them so if you have them open it keeps the bugs out. The tent is 8 berths so there is plenty of room. The poles are very lightweight and simply clip together.
Our experience when using the tent
We used the tent about 4 times throughout 2012, one of the occasions was for a 2 week trip to France so we have a lot of use out of it and are therefore able to provide a comprehensive review.
Overall we love the tent and are really happy that we chose it. The tent had plenty of space for us and our 2 children, we also took our dog and there was plenty of space for her too.
Having the separate bedrooms was a great idea and worked really well. We used two of the 3 bedrooms so just had the other one to store our clothes and coats etc which was useful. We also bought the kids room which the kids really loved it provided them with a mini den in place of their bedroom.
The tent was certainly tested over the year as we camped on Anglesey on a campsite right next to the beach so it was very windy, the tent stood up to these conditions really well.
When we were in France it also rained heavily and there were no problems there either nothing leaked and because the ground sheet is sown in it was not muddy.
I am really glad it had the porch area though or it may have been a different story. We had bought the carpet that fitted in the middle section and that worked really well and kept the warmth in the tent it also made if feel like a little home so again I feel this was a good purchase.
The only problems we experienced with the tent were when we were putting it up. It is very difficult to put the tent up with just two adults due to its size I can imagine anyone around watching us do this were kept entertained!! When we put it up in France one of the poles snapped we were offered a replacement when we got home but im not sure if this was down to us putting the tent up incorrectly or a fault with the pole.
You certainly need to practice doing this a few times before going away so you don't make a fool of yourself on the site if you are unable to do it.
Another other problem is that due to its size if you have a small garden you will not be able to pitch it at home if it needs drying out. Our garden is really big so it wasn't a problem for us but anyone with an average/smaller garden may struggle.
Due to its size again some sites do not have pitches big enough. We have just tried to book a pitch by a lake for June this year and due to the size of the tent they do not have any lakeside pitches that are big enough to take it.
Overall I think the tent is a great buy for any family it is hardwearing and will last you years if you look after it.